The caudex of a tree fern resembles the trunk of a woody plant, but has a different structure.
The caudex of Jatropha cathartica is pachycaul, with thickening that provides water storage.

A caudex (plural: caudices) of a plant is a stem,[1] but the term is also used to mean a rootstock[2] and particularly a basal stem structure from which new growth arises.[3]

In the strict sense of the term, meaning a stem, "caudex" is most often used with plants that have a different stem morphology from the typical angiosperm dicotyledon stem:[1] examples of this include palms, ferns, and cycads.

The related term caudiciform, literally meaning stem-like, is sometimes used to mean pachycaul, thick-stemmed.[3]


The term is from the Latin caudex, a noun meaning "tree trunk".[2][4]

See also


  1. 1 2 Hickey, M.; King, C. (2001). The Cambridge Illustrated Glossary of Botanical Terms. Cambridge University Press.
  2. 1 2 Stearn, W.T. (1992). Botanical Latin: History, grammar, syntax, terminology and vocabulary, Fourth edition. David and Charles.
  3. 1 2 Simpson, M.G. (2010). Plant Systematics: Second Edition. Elsevier Science. ISBN 9780080922089.pages 456 and 695
  4. "caudex - definition of caudex by The Free Dictionary". Retrieved 2014-07-15.
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